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Strength to Love

by Martin Luther King Jr.

1. “Be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” ~ Matthew 10:16

“Few people have the toughness of mind to judge critically and to discern the truth from the false."

“Softminded individuals are prone to embrace all kinds of superstitions.”

“The softminded man always fears change.”

“Historical and philological criticism of the Bible is considered by the softminded as blasphemous”

“The rich fool was condemned, not because he was toughminded, but rather because he was not tenderhearted”

2. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” ~ Romans 12:2

“The love ethic of Jesus is a radiant light revealing the ugliness of our stale conformity”

“The trailblazers in human, academic, scientific, and religious freedom have always been nonconformists.”

3. “Who is my neighbor?” ~ Luke 10:29

“The Samaritan was good because he made concern for others the first law of his life”

“The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others”

“A good father is obedient to the unenforceable… we must admit that the ultimate solution to the race problem lies in the willingness of men to obey the unenforceable.”

“Dangerous altruism”

4. “Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” ~Luke 23:34

“One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying.”

“We live according to the philosophy that life is a matter of getting even and of saving face”

“War may serve as a negative good”

“Men convinced themselves that a system which was so economically profitable must be morally justifiable”

“The Bible reminds of the danger of zeal without knowledge and sincerity without intelligence”

5. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” ~Matthew 5-43:45

“How do we love our enemies? First, we must develop the capacity to forgive… Second, we must recognize that the evil deed of the enemy-neighbor, the thing that hurts, never quite expresses all that he is… Third, we must not seek to defeat or humiliate the enemy”

“Hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity.”

6. “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.” ~ Luke 11:5-6

“Science gave us the very instruments that threaten to bring universal suicide”

“It is midnight within the moral order… absolute right and absolute wrong is a matter of what the majority is doing”

7. “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you.” ~ Luke 12:20

“Jesus never made a sweeping indictment against wealth. Rather, he condemned the misuse of wealth”

“We have guided missiles and misguided men.”

“Like the rich man of old, we have foolishly minimized the internal of our lives and maximized the external.”

8. “Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore” ~ Exodus 14:30

“This story symbolizes the death of evil and of inhuman oppression and unjust exploitation”

9. “Its length and width and height are equal” ~ Revelation 21:16

“Almost every affirmation of greatness is followed, not by a period symbolizing completeness, but by a comma punctuating its nagging partialness”

“Every person must have a concern for self and feel a responsibility to discover his mission in life”

“After one has discovered what he is made for, he should surrender all of the power in his being to the achievement of this.”

“Set yourself earnestly to discover what you are made to do, and then give yourself passionately to the doing of it”

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

“Young man, your plans are far too small. They can extend only seventy-five or a hundred years at the most”

Love yourself = length. Love your neighbor = width. Love God = height.

10. “I have been longing for many years to visit you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain.” ~Romans 15:23-24

“Paul’s life is a tragic story of shattered dreams”

“Shattered dreams are a hallmark of our mortal life.”

“Our capacity to deal creatively with shattered dreams is ultimately determined by our faith in God.”

11. “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor” ~ Psalms 8:4-5

12. “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” ~ Amos 5:24

“Communism is the only serious rival to Christianity”

“Man cannot save himself, for man is not the measure of all things”

“Communism exploits the dreadful philosophy that the end justifies the means”

“Immoral means cannot bring moral ends”

“Any religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and yet is not concerned with the economic and social conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is the kind the Marxist describes as ‘an opiate of the people’”

“The profit motive, when it is the sole basis of an economic system, encourages a cutthroat competition and selfish ambition that inspires men to be more concerned about making a living than making a life.”

“We must recapture the spirit of the early church. Wherever the early Christians went, they made a triumphant witness for Christ… They urged men to revolt against old systems of injustice and old structures of immorality… Early Christians ‘out-thought, out-lived, and out-died’ everyone else”

13. “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling” ~ Jude 1:24

“He has placed within the very structure of this universe certain absolute moral laws. We can neither defy nor break them.”

“In a world of possible depressions, stock market crashes, and bad business investments, money is a rather uncertain deity.”

14. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect with love.” ~ 1 John 4:18

“Troubled by the fact that days and years pass so quickly, we dose ourselves with drugs which promise eternal youth”

“A fear of what life may bring encourages some persons to wander aimlessly along the frittering road of excessive drink and sexual promiscuity”

“If man were to lose his capacity to fear, he would be deprived of his capacity to grow, invent, and create”

“Our problem is not to be rid of fear but rather to harness and master it”

“Courage breeds creative self-affirmation; cowardice produces destructive self-abnegation”

“Courageous men never lose the zest for living even though their life situation is zestless; cowardly men, overwhelmed by the uncertainties of life, lose the will to live.”

“Fear is mastered through love.”

“A common source of fear is an awareness of deficient resources”

15. “Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, ‘Why couldn’t we drive it out?’” ~ Matthew 17:19

“Armed with a growing faith in the capability of reason and science, modern man sets out to change the world. He turned his attention from God and the human soul to the outer world and its possibilities. He observed, analyzed, and explored.”

“Man by his own power can never cast evil from the world”

“The idea that man expects God to do everything leads inevitably to a callous misuse of prayer”

“Prayer is a marvelous and necessary supplement of your feeble efforts, but it is a dangerous substitute.”

“We must pray with unceasing passion for racial justice, but we must also use our minds to develop a program, organize ourselves into mass nonviolent action, and employ every resource of our bodies and souls to bring an end to racial injustice.”

16. Pauls’ Letter to American Christians

“If any earthly institution or custom conflicts with God’s will, it is your Christian duty to oppose it.”

But as you continue your righteous protest always be sure that you struggle with Christian methods and Christian weapons.”

“Never succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter”

“Always avoid violence”

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